License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver

License to Pawn: Deals, Steals, and My Life at the Gold & Silver

4.3 124
by Rick Harrison, Tim Keown
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In Las Vegas, there's a family-owned business called the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, run by three generations of the Harrison family: Rick; his son, Big Hoss; and Rick's dad, the Old Man. Now License to Pawn takes readers behind the scenes of the hit History show Pawn Stars and shares the fascinating life story of its star, Rick Harrison, and the equally

Overview

In Las Vegas, there's a family-owned business called the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop, run by three generations of the Harrison family: Rick; his son, Big Hoss; and Rick's dad, the Old Man. Now License to Pawn takes readers behind the scenes of the hit History show Pawn Stars and shares the fascinating life story of its star, Rick Harrison, and the equally intriguing story behind the shop, the customers, and the items for sale.

Rick hasn't had it easy. He was a math whiz at an early age, but developed a similarly uncanny ability to find ever-deepening trouble that nearly ruined his life. With the birth of his son, he sobered up, reconnected with his dad, and they started their booming business together.

License to Pawn also offers an entertaining walk through the pawn shop's history. It's a captivating look into how the Gold & Silver works, with incredible stories about the crazy customers and the one-of-a-kind items that the shop sells. Rick isn't only a businessman; he's also a historian and keen observer of human nature. For instance, did you know that pimps wear lots of jewelry for a reason? It's because if they're arrested, jewelry doesn't get confiscated like cash does, and ready money will be available for bail. Or that WWII bomber jackets and Zippo lighters can sell for a freakishly high price in Japan? Have you ever heard that the makers of Ormolu clocks, which Rick sells for as much as $15,000 apiece, frequently died before forty thanks to the mercury in the paint?

Rick also reveals the items he loves so much he'll never sell. The shop has three Olympic bronze medals, a Patriots Super Bowl ring, a Samurai sword from 1490, and an original Iwo Jima battle plan. Each object has an incredible story behind it, of course. Rick shares them all, and so much more—there's an irresistible treasure trove of history behind both the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop and the life of Rick Harrison.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this seedily entertaining memoir of low finance, the proprietor of the World Famous Gold and Silver Pawn Shop and star of the History Channel’s Pawn Stars reports from the world of gonzo capitalism, Las Vegas�style. Harrison and coauthor Keown are cheerful and honest about the pawnshop biz: the 10% a month interest; the hard-nosed, deceptive bargaining to acquire treasures for a song; the eternal duel with scammers and thieves peddling fakes and stolen goods; the infamous night window where customers line up at 3 a.m. for cash to fuel their addictions. These operations generate a steady stream of only-in-Vegas stories; there’s the trust funder who gambled away million in 36 hours, the woman who offered her gold tooth for sale and asked for a pair of pliers to extract it, and "the juxtaposition of the nun and the hookers—let’s just say it was surreal." Harrison’s self-mythologizing—"I was a tenth-grade drop-out who read and studied more than most college students"—drags a bit and his meta-saga of TV deal making undercuts the tone of seamy authenticity. Still, this tale of family entrepreneurship is full of intriguing details on the desperate things people do for money. (June)
Kirkus Reviews

Host of the History Channel'sPawn Starsunsentimentally breaks down the curious world of buying and selling pre-owned merchandise.

Harrison's straight-shooting business style adapts well to the pages of a memoir brimming with stories of his 20-plus years at the family-run World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop in Las Vegas. Before dropping out of school in the 10th grade, the author recalls a San Diego childhood spent people-watching and reading, yet marred by debilitating grand mal seizures and "fatalistic" drug abuse that led to rehab at age 14. Since his father ("Old Man") was a gold dealer and his "new-era" mother dabbled in real estate, both livelihoods honed his interest in commercial commerce. When the family relocated to Las Vegas, the author was hooked. Trolling swap meets fed a need to unearth the "overlooked treasures" of estate sales, and once his father opened his dream pawn shop, Harrison and Keown dictate a continuous strand of stories about the customers pawning their frequently odd sale items at Harrison's "poor person's bank" (there's a 10 percent monthly interest rate). Desperation takes many forms. Twenty bucks can sell a pair of alligator cowboy boots or a Gucci bag, but more lucrative (and outlandish) sales feature a gold tooth (extracted on-site) or one of the shop's prized possessions: authentic Iwo Jima battle plans hand-drawn in color. Throughout his career, Harrison has balanced failed business endeavors (in-house gold refinement) with impeccable negotiation skills and eagle-eye appraisals that have prevented the acquisition of fake Confederate swords and Rolex watches. The author lives and breathes his subject matter, but his voice, too-often oscillating between a hard-nosed tradesman and a starry-eyed TV personality, lacks the immediacy of his on-camera persona. Fans of unorthodox trades will find his tales shocking yet tastefully delivered, yet lacking the punch of the visual medium.

A fascinating guided tour of what Harrison calls "the greatest business in the world."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781401324308
Publisher:
Hachette Books
Publication date:
06/07/2011
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
494,043
Product dimensions:
9.28(w) x 6.40(h) x 0.90(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Rick Harrison lives in Las Vegas, NV where he is the owner-operator of the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

License to Pawn 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 124 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Having seen several episodes of "Pawn Stars" and having formed impressions of the main characters, I was quite suprised to learn about their lives before, and behind the cameras. I have to admit that I am truly impressed by what Rick has been able to achieve considering what he went through in his earlier years. I think though that his story revives the Anmerican folklore found in the early years of indsutrialization. Although it is not exaxtly "a rags to riches" story, it does illustrate what can happen when a person is willing to work hard in persuit of a goal. The book is written in a first person narrative and takes on the tone as if you were talking to the people over a cup of coffee. It is a simply told, down to earth story told by those who live it. A pleasurabe, and informative look into the lives of these people and the goings on in pawnshops across the country.
S-Z More than 1 year ago
For anyone who is down on his/her luck -- even those who walk into Harrison's pawn shop -- this book should be truly inspirational. It details how one family beat the odds (including drugs and other vices), poured their hearts and bank accounts into a business, and ultimately achieved unimaginable success. "Pawn Stars" ranks among my favorite shows and so, like other reviewers, I was a bit disappointed there weren't more stories about items brought into the shop (the history, deals made, etc.), but still, this is a very good -- and easy -- read. I hope Rick pens a second book!
Nick_Reading More than 1 year ago
This book keeps you going!! You can't wait to find out more and even at 1:20am keep flipping along. Plus the NOOK price can't be beat.
larryandbeth More than 1 year ago
This autobiography is told in an honest and unassuming way. I found out trivia on not only antiques but contemporary items as well. This man pulled himself up by the bootstraps and turned around his life. More power to him!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will learn about everyone on the show and learn things about the shop, things they don't show you on the show.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an interesting peek at the behind the scenes look at the show and the interesting people that make up the cast. I wish the book was longer.
Kiva124 More than 1 year ago
This book is awesome. The best thing about it is that if you have seen the show you can hear Rick, Old Man, Cory, and Chumlee voices as you read the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best true story.. They're so smart, even Chumlii is getting a LITTLE smarter ! ! Don't wait,,,,put it on your e-reader
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book...sorry it ended
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Uh, no not really. But if you don't mind I don't think I want to talk about it right now, sorry. I just took a shower so I never posted. What's going on with Lily?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CynLou More than 1 year ago
My husband and I watch Pawn Stars, so the book was very interesting to me. My sister read it and recommended it. This book tells the whole story about how the store came to be and also how the tv show came about.
Carlthereader More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed chapters written by The Old Man, Big Hoss and Chumley. The book gives an inside workings of a pawn shop. I think after reading the book you get a better appreciation of the show itself.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just like the show, fun and factual
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great Book! This book is in Rick's own words and reads just like he is standing there carrying on a conversation with you. Love it! Learned a lot about the show and everyone on the show!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really changes your persective on the show. Quick read and totally worth it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The show ientertaing and so is rhe book. Rick,Cory, and Chumley are all recovering druggies which makes this success story even more unusual. Very little is said about son,Adam, which makes me wonder if he is still uusing. I did not like the use of the F word as it idoes not add anything to the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great read not only from a learning standpoint but entertaining as well. Learned more about the main folks that appear on TV by their own story lines.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago